February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! Here are 5 ways to encourage good dental hygiene in your children.
Good oral health care starts before your children’s teeth even show! Caring for children’s teeth is different from adult oral care, and it changes as kids grow older. It is crucial to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children from a young age so that they can keep their teeth healthy for a lifetime.
Children’s Dental Care, the Basics
When your baby is first born, you should begin wiping their gums clean with a damp piece of gauze or cloth to remove any remaining milk or formula. When their teeth begin to grow in, brush them gently with a small, soft bristled brush designed for young children.
To keep teeth healthy, children should:
- Brush twice a day to remove plaque and bacteria that eats away at teeth.
- Floss every day to remove plaque that collects in between teeth and under the gums.
- Remove plaque before it hardens and become tarter, which can only be removed with a professional cleaning.
- If your child is too young to properly brush their teeth, allow them to brush, but go over them again a second time, ensuring that you reach the back molars.
- Visit the dentist twice a year, starting within six months after their first tooth begins to show.
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste if younger than six years.
- Eat a balanced meal that is low in starchy and sugary foods.
For best results, it’s important to get kids excited about brushing so they enjoy keeping things clean. To celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month, we have come up with a list of ways for children to engage with their oral health care.
Five Ways to Get Kids Excited About Healthy Teeth
- Lead by Example: Brush your teeth every morning and night, and talk about how much fun it is! When your child sees how excited you are about cleaning your pearly whites, they will want to join in. You can even brush your teeth together.
- Fun Supplies: Let your child choose their own toothbrush and rinsing cup. There are a variety of kid-friendly favorites, from cartoon characters to bright colors and patterns. Children’s toothpaste comes in yummy flavors like watermelon and strawberry.
- Sing Along: Scour the internet for fun songs about oral hygiene and share them with your children. This will help them associate clean teeth with fun. Here is a playlist to get you started.
- Teeth Activities: There are a variety of crafts and games that you and your child can take part in together. Giving kids a fun, hands-on way to learn about oral hygiene is a great way to get them involved. Check out these activities.
- Offer a Reward: Keep track of how often your child brushes your teeth. After your child has brushed twice a day for 7 days in a row, give them a reward. Some non-candy incentives include a trip to the park, choosing a movie to watch as a family, a playdate with friends, and a ribbon or certificate.
Keep Dental Health Strong All Year Round
February may be dental health month, but these should be year-round habits. It is important that your kids start building good dental hygiene habits with their baby teeth so they can grow up with a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.